Thursday 12th June 2014

Last day of holiday so just some local birding. Started out with both Male and Female Red-Backed Shrike, Serin, Black Redstart and Cirl Bunting.
Moved up the valley to a cliff face 1 Km North of Torla on road to Ordesa and park in the car park to scan the ridges. Within minutes 2 Lammergeier were floating around, followed by Chough, Egyptian Vulture and Griffon.
Fantastic end to a great holiday.

Lammergeier 1
The Reason we went there !!!

 

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Lammergeier Mountains 1 km North of Torla

 

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Simply Stunning

Wednesday 11th June 2014

A trip today to the Tor Valley region which is the next valley along from Hecho. A good variety of arable crops produced various Lark sp and then further stops at different sites produced the following :-
Griffons everywhere, Egyptian Vulture, Cirl Bunting, Nightingale, Eagle sp very distant, Crag Martin. 2 Red Backed Shrike, Red and Black Kites and Booted Eagle.
On the return home stopped off in the crop fields before Hecho and saw Kites and a stunningly close Short Toed Eagle
A late evening walk in the Gardens and surrounding area of the Hotel this time produced both Male and Female Red Backed Shrike and male Cirl Bunting. Let’s hope the RBS breed and successfully raise young.

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Empty Roads

 

Hecho Mountains
Tor Mountains

 

Don't drive up here if you're of nervous disposition
Don’t drive up here if you’re of nervous disposition

 

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Or a High vehicle

 

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Stunning Views

 

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Old Mine working on way up to Tor

 

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Good areas to stop and scan around

 

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Lots of Wooded areas

Tuesday 10th June 2014

A visit to France today for high altitude species. Stopped at a ski resort called Portalet and walked from the left hand shops into the Mountains.
Birds seen were – Red Kite, Black Kite, Peregrine, Kestrel, Griffon, Egyptian, Linnet, Chough, Alpine Chough, Cirl Bunting, Black Eared Wheatear, Water Pipit, Raven and the commonest bird around Black Redstart,
Walked right up to the Snow line and the wild flowers were incredible.
Mammals included lots of Alpine Marmets and Chamois.
This evening we re-found the Red Backed Shrike just outside hotel garden.

Portalet France (44)

Portalet France (43)

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Portalet France (1)

Monday 9th June 2014

A trip today to Hecho Valley which is a must for any birders visiting the Pyrenees. First stop was the lowland areas well before Hecho. Drive up the valley and park at the side of the road viewing the good fields on your left. The local farmers were cutting their hay and as such Raptos were everywhere. First seen were Red Kite, Black Kite, Short Toed Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Booted Eagle, Common Buzzard, Griffon and CC Marsh Harrier. At one point over 30 birds were in the air at once and they appeared to be coming from different directions. Also Corn Bunting were everywhere and a very showy Melodious Warbler
Moving up the valley to the notorious dense wooded sheer cliffs we searched all previously known areas for the specialist bird for this area – Wall Creeper but alas none were found. In the area though were Green Woodpecker, Griffons everywhere, Peregrine, Cirl Bunting and Crag Martin.
We even searched up to the high altitude of the Refuge Gabardito. This involved driving as far as possible to this area and then walking on the huge Mountain passes. All of which is stunning scenery (and not for the faint hearted). However despite our best efforts we could not locate the bird.

Black Kite 8

Black Kite 7

Black Kite 6

Black Kite 5

Black Kite 4

Black Kite 1

 

 
A few pictures of the Hecko region.

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Hecho Valley Mountains

 

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Hecho Valley Mountains

 

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Every which way you look

 

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Valley eventually Opens out

 

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And the scenery just gets better

 

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Even a solitary house up here

 

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Or 2

 

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Stunning views

 

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Care needed on these roads

 

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Or you’re history

 

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You may even meet another car

 

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No sign of any Wall-creepers here

 

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Lowland Areas

 

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View up the Hecho Valley

 

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Lowland areas where we saw all the Raptors

 

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And the only Melodious Warbler

 

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Be Careful as you are at least 1500M up

 

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Care needed when walking up here

 

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Very high Mountains

 

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On every side

 

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Very few birds though

 

 

Sunday 8th June 2014

A very hot day today, in fact a little to hot for any birding, so checked out the local areas to see what we could see.
Raven, Griffon, Booted Eagle, Lammergeier (2), Serin, Great Spotted Black Kite, Woodpecker, Common Buzzard and Garden Warbler were all seen.
The usual array of Butterflies were in abundance although mostly to active to see well. Stunning Cirl Bunting near Hotel again this evening.

Marbled White 2

Marbled White 1

Butterfly 2

Butterfly 1

Saturday 7th June 2014

Found a good Raptor viewpoint just out of Torla opposite first car park, heading towards Ordessa so walked up there and chanced our luck.
To start with we had Booted Eagle then Raven, Chough, Griffons galore, Crested Tit, Serin, and at least 6 or 7 Lammergeier
At dusk a walk around the Hotel Car Park produced Black Redstart , Cirl Bunting and Nightingale.

Torla and Cliff Area (7)

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Plateau North of Torla (19)

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Friday 6th June 2014

Today we walked the full length of Ordessa Valley. Park at the Car Park and take the left hand route following the river footpath. The route is approximately 12 miles and you need to allow the full day to complete. The woods were quiet with only Chaffinch, Nuthatch and Robin. The path meanders for a few miles climbing higher and higher before the Valley opens up and the views are stunning. Birds got better and better with Black Redstart., Raven, Water Pipit, Red Kite, Chough, Alpine Chough, Egyptian Vulture, Griffon Vulture, Pied Wheatear, stunning male Rock Thrush and top of the bill Lammergeier . A very long way but well worth it for the birds.
Once the sun appeared so did the Butterflies with Fritillaries, Blues, Clouded Yellow and Camberwell Beauty along with many more unidentifiable ones
Mammals included Fox, Mouse sp, Chamois and Alpine Marmot

Birds, Butterflies and Wild Flowers of The Pyrenees